Learning and memory impairment in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy: Relation to the presence, type, and location of brain lesion

Anna R. Giovagnoli, Giuliano Avanzini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: To study the influence of epileptogenic lesions on learning and memory alterations in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). Methods: We studied 131 patients (55 with left and 39 with right lesional TLE; 22 with left and 15 with right cryptogenic TLE) and 36 healthy subjects. We compared these groups by using a battery of tests to assess verbal and visual learning, delayed recall, and recall after the imposition of interfering activity. Results: Compared with the controls and patients with right TLE, the patients with left TLE were significantly impaired on all verbal tests. On visual tests, patients with right TLE were impaired compared with controls but not more so than patients with left TLE. Separate multivariate analyses of variance (MANOVAs) of patients' verbal and visual test scores, taking the TLE side and morphologic features of the temporal lobes (i.e., normal, hippocampal sclerosis, low-grade glioma, or cavernous angioma) as independent factors, did not show any significant effect of these features. Separate comparisons of verbal and visual test scores of patients with lesional TLE, taking the side and location (mesial or lateral) of the epileptogenic lesion as independent factors, did not show any significant effect of location. Conclusions: Our findings show that some learning and memory abilities are impaired in patients with TLE irrespective of the presence of overt damage. This supports the theory that focal epileptic discharges, rather than the lesions themselves, affect these functions. The pathologic characteristics and intratemporal location of an associated lesion do not seem to play an important role in determining learning and memory impairment when clinical and treatment-related factors are taken into account.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)904-911
Number of pages8
JournalEpilepsia
Volume40
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1999

Keywords

  • Learning
  • Lesion
  • Memory
  • Temporal lobe epilepsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)

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